Peer Review by AbigailSauble (United States)

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Under the Yellow Umbrella

By: RedWriter


I walked outside into the chilly fall afternoon and sat down, careful not to look in front of me. People walked around chatting about weather and shopping and school supplies, so oblivious to major reunion that was happening right beneath their noses, and of course a yellow umbrella above me that matched the one in my hand. The steely cold chair cut into my back like a knife- at least, I imagined it was the chair. I prefer to blame furniture instead the guilt that was twisting and gnawing at my stomach. I gingerly set down my yellow umbrella on the side of my chair and looked at the plate in front of me full of chicken and fries. Hannah must've ordered- it was the last meal I had eaten before I left to... I sighed and gave up the uphill battle to face the people I had left behind. James, my lover, was directly in front of me. I saw his age lines first- he was so young then, and I can't help but think they might've been caused by me. His reddish brown hair had been cut so it hung around his neck. Already I felt a tear or two bud in my eyes so I quickly looked to my left. There, in all of her glory, was my sister Hannah. She looked so beautiful, so much more mature than she had as a child. Her golden hair framed her face cut into a pixie hairstyle, green eyes staring at her with longing and anger. A wedding ring glittered on her ring finger, I realized with another stab of guilt.
Finally a chance to see my big sister in a dress as beautiful as she was and I missed it. I forced myself to look at the smaller figure on my right that occupied the last chair. My... my own daughter, Evelyn. Evelyn was perfect in everyway. She had a kind round face, almond eyes the color of a canopy of leaves, a splash of freckles that trialed from her nose to her cheeks, and dark brown hair that was tied into a messy bun on the back of her head. She was so beautiful, and she looked so kind and smart. If I could have a day to myself with her, just one without the others, to talk alone and make up all the lost time... "Evelyn," I breathed without really telling myself too.
Instantly her face tightened like I had pulled on a already tight cord. She leaned away from me a little and instead of looking at me she looked at the chicken and fries on my plate. "Jasmine?" I turned regretfully to James. "Is she... my daughter?"
I nodded at him and studied his face. It only changed slightly- his brow was set firmer than before- but I could tell he had ten more questions now.
"Let me explain," I swallowed, looking at them. "Hannah-"
"I want the truth," she said quietly, looking at me. Her green eyes were watery and her expression was open, not guarded, not angry or longing- just sad. I could practically feel all the walls she had built up crash down at my feet. "Why I... why I left?" I ventured.
She nodded. My explanation now seemed dead, withering away under not the intensity of James' look, not the dejectedness of Evelyn, but simply the sadness that I knew they felt- simply the sadness that I felt. "I had wanted more," I said softly, and then sped ahead unable to stop myself. "I knew that one day we would go our separate ways Hannah, because all sisters do. There was this wonderful opportunity for me and I wanted to take it but I knew... you would object. So I left- I thought then it would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do in order to leave my mark of the world. But I did- and so on I went. Later," I faced James again, my tounge seeming to have a mind of it's own. "I found you, James. I had spent a happy three years with you, but... I didn't want to stay there the rest of our lives. I wanted to go and-"
"Be somebody," He echoed from the fight we had had the night before. I nodded silently at him and continued. "I argued so that you might've come with me. So that you'd see my side and follow. And also so you would know why I left. I still felt terrible about the way I had treated you, Hannah. You didn't listen, though. So I... I left the next morning. With Evelyn in my stomach.
"Evelyn," I looked at her, and she stared back at me. This, this would be the hardest of all. "I loved you from the day you were born. I cared for you for a while but I... I simply couldn't do it anymore. I was fired from my job and had to go cross country to get to my next opportunity. I could only afford the trip for myself and... and so I left you there. I... I am so sorry."
Evelyn stared at me and leaned forward. "Why didn't you come back? When you had enough money why didn't you come back?"
I didn't answer because there was no good answer. I could make a hundred excuses right then and there but there wasn't a good one, there was no proper one. "I am so sorry," I repeated finally.
Hannah sat up in her chair. "So what happened next?"
"I had gotten a good job- CEO of a company actually," I made myself not look at Evelyn. "And then I... I quit."
"You quit?" James asked before Hannah could say anything. "Why? You wanted to be noticed all of your life and that is why you left so-"
"I KNEW THEN," I shouted above him, and to my own shock I felt a few warm drops of water drip down my cheek. My voice caught and I cleared it. "I knew... then."
"Knew what?" Evelyn asked. I looked at all of them- the three most important people in my lifetime- and opened my mouth. "That... that people, people like you, like us, should matter more than a stupid thing like leaving a mark."
"You did leave a mark," Hannah said. "On all of us," she stood up and walked around the table to squat in front of me and jab her finger in my chest. "That is why we are here, Jasmine. Not to eat food-" she knocked the chicken and fries to the ground with a sweep of her arm. 
"Not to sit an act normal so people like sunglasses over there don't stop and stare at us-"
Someone consciously moved away from us blushing and pulling their coat around them. "To talk- to- you," she said, poking my chest with each word. Then Hannah hugged me and cried. It had been a long time since I had seen her cry even when before I left- she rarely cried and if she did it wasn't shared with me.
I hugged her back and closed my eyes, a few more additions to the waterfall of my face slipping out too. I felt another pair of arms around us and heard James' voice in my ear. "I still love you Jasmine," he whispered, which made me cry harder, sad and happy.
Finally there was Evelyn, and she didn't hold back anymore. She wept on my shoulder and I held her while she did. How dare I do this to my family, my loves. There is something better than leaving a mark on the Earth- leaving three. 

I hope you liked this conclusion the to the Jasmine quartet. I liked the way that this turned out. Thanks to Kitfisto898 and AR Sauble to encouraging me to write this.

Message to Readers

Is this satisfying? Please be honest and tell me what you had expected.

Peer Review

The highlighted part at the end. Because it's true! People are so much more important than good jobs, or 'leaving a mark'.

Peace, contentment. Jasmine finally realized what was most important.

What were you thinking as you wrote this conclusion?

Reviewer Comments

Very well done! I almost cried with Jasmine. :) All the questions are answered. Now I need to read the entire series again. ;) Keep up the good work! God bless!